The Baskets of Joy program spreads joy throughout the Kenosha and Racine area by providing Easter baskets to children in need. We caught up with organizer Danielle Rasmussen for this exclusive Q&A.
What is the Baskets of Joy program?
The Baskets of Joy Project was founded in 2009 by Quinn Gasparo. It is an initiative that provides Easter baskets to children in need in the Kenosha and Racine communities It is a project for the community by the community! Our all-ability Easter egg hunt strengthens our community by providing a free and fun event for everyone.
How did you get involved with this great project?
In 2018, I baked over 600 giant egg shaped sugar cookies to put in the baskets and that year we had an event at the Daily Dose Cafe to decorate them. We had a good time that year.
What are the goals for the Baskets of Joy Project?
To promote community engagement and volunteerism, educate the public on the shelters/ outreach organizations that serve our community, And to provide Easter baskets to children in need that promote creativity, physical/outdoor play, boost self esteem and strengthen our community by holding a free all ability Easter egg hunt.
How is this years project different from the past?
This year we cannot hold our egg filling, basket assembly, or egg hunts due to the restrictions. We also cannot use the 501C3 that normally sponsors us due to Covid funding, so corporate donations of candy aren’t going to be possible. We are also not collecting plastic eggs this year due to the fact that we cannot host a separate event to fill them. It makes it a little more difficult but we are finding ways around that. I have teams of volunteers already assembled to put baskets together and distribute them safely following CDC guidelines donations have to be quarantine for one week – so our deadline for a drop off this year is also a bit early, March 21st.
How and where can people donate and help out?
People can donate at our drop off locations. Or via amazon gift registry. Find us on Facebook by searching “Baskets of Joy Project” for all the details. Donations can be shipped to The Baskets of Joy Project, 314 7th Street, Kenosha, WI. 53140
What is this dancing bunny I keep hearing about?
There will be a distribution event at the Moose Lodge in Kenosha on Sunday, March 28th from 4pm to 7pm – drive-through style. Anyone in need is welcome. Simply write down how many girl or a boy baskets you need on a piece of paper, hold it up to your window, pop your trunk and we will drop them in. There will be a dancing Easter bunny that you referred to along with Mary Modder who will be our DJ. It’s going to be LIT.
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself and some of the other great volunteer work you have done in the past?
I am a beautician, mom, activist and lifelong resident of Kenosha. I’ve done a lot of things for my community. The first events I did were cookie events. I bake cookies to donate to Arnetta Griffin’s Christmas dinner in 2017 and we got together to decorate them at Daily Dose. In 2018, I did Easter cookies for Baskets of Joy and then I did the cookie project for Grace Welcome Center that raised 13K and subsequently they were able to build their pantry.
I also did my first haircuts for the holiday event when we gave over 60 local foster children free haircuts. In 2018, I also volunteered at Grace Welcome Center cutting hair as well. In 2019, I did Baskets of Joy, opened my own small business and did haircutting events for a back-to-school and Christmas. In 2020, I raised 150K for Hanah Gittings (Anthony Huber’s girlfriend who was with him the night he was killed), marched with Jessie Jackson, which was pretty awesome, he did a lot of online activism. This year I’m currently working on the Baskets of Joy and hoping to do another haircutting event for the holidays.
What is it that you love about this community?
I love Kenosha because I have lived here all my life and the community is always willing to help those in need. It’s still a small town to me. I know a lot of really great people here. People that have helped me accomplish every single thing I’ve set out to do. I love those people – they’re amazing.
Can you tell us about your business – Wild Heart Salon?
I’m located at 6920 Green Bay Rd. in Kenosha Wisconsin. I have been doing hair for five years. My favorite thing about my job is connecting with the guest and making them feel great about themselves.
Funniest story while working?
Funniest story happened in beauty school. I was trying to wax my husband’s nose hair and a popsicle stick won’t come out of his nostril, but I kept trying. Period. He was crying by the end. I felt bad. I should’ve of laughed but it was so funny. I had to get a teacher. Poor Paul
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working or helping our great community?
One of my favorite activities is going for walks by the lake and taking photos with my phone.
What’s next for Danielle Rasmussen?
Next up? I’m not sure. Empowering guests in my chair to feel good about themselves. Empowering my peeps on social media to love and feel good about themselves. Holiday haircut events, Baskets of Joy, growing the business, chasing the things that make me happy, and following my heart.
Learn more about the Baskets of Joy program at basketsofjoyproject.org
Check out their Facebook page Click Here
Book your next hair appoint with Danielle at wildheartsalon.online
Like Wild Heart Salon on Facebook Click Here
Q&A by Donny Stancato – Edited by Jason Hedman
Photo of Danielle Rasmussen by Donny Stancato – other photos supplied by the Baskets of Joy Facebook page.
(This article first appeared in the 3/11/21 issue of the Smart Reader)